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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 11, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EST

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[captioning made possible by kcet public television] ." >> if you think backroom politics is a thing of the pass, consider all the behind-the- scenes jockeyinging for key leadership positions this boils down -- this boils down to a central question -- should nancy pelosi continue to lead the party? or were last week's results a signal for new leadership. also, tonight, one of hollywood's fastest rising stars is here. actress carey mulligan, following her oscar-nominated role in "an education". paul caine from "the washington post" and actress carey mulligan comin gup right now.
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>> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: both parties in congress are putting together their leadership teams and no where is the battle more heated among -- and among democrats.
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paul caine joins us from washington tonight. their deep have you on the program. -- goo dot have you on the program. why are democrats fighting intensely over these leadership posts? >> whatever these elections are held and you have the fall lot immediately afterwards. for the winners, it is easier to divide up the spoils of victory. for the losers, and the house of representatives, there is one less seat when you're in the minority. it is a bit tougher because people have gotten used to each sort of interest group of the various blocks of power inside the democratic caucus have had somebody there. another is one less seat. and so there really is musical chairs. and they are trying to figure out when the music stops at the middle of next week who ends up sitting at those seats.
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and right now, two very powerful people, jim clyburn, the highest ranking african-american in congressional history, and steny hoyer, who has served as an outreach person to moderate democrats. those are the two people jockeying for the last seat at the table. and it has -- it has gone unheeded. tavis: it is not just because there is one lesser leadership post as compared to the senate, one fewer, but it is also a battle because nancy pelosi surprised some when she announced that she was going to run again to be the leader, the leader of the minority party. but how much did your decision to run complicate things and how is that decision, as you covered this, resonating on the hill? >> first of all, her decision is, she is up here as speaker, and now she will move down a
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notch to minority leader. and that creates this little crunch for hoyer and clyburn, because hoyer is right now majority leader. he thought that he would be, -- he would go from majority to minority leader and jim clyburn also thought he would go from majority whip to minority whip. now, instead, you have hoyer and clyburn fighting over the number two spot. her decision has surprised many people. it has left some puzzled, left some angry, your know, people have forgotten that she really is a fighter and she digs in and does not like losing. she wants to go out on her own terms. and i think she wants at least two more years -- to try to win back the majority. and also re-fashioned her own image. it took a beating this year with
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tens of thousands of campaign commercials run all across the country betraying her in and negative way. it is left some people very confused that they could end up with the exact same leadership team as they had the past 10 years. tavis: when you are in the minority and citing an uphill battle, we know she is a fighter. when use a re-fashion her image, what would that look like? how would she go about doing that? and the minority, you do not control anything. >> that is true. her job responsibilities would be so much different. she would not be in charge of governing the house, the way she has spent the last couple of years, in terms of trying to constantly put together these majorities for far reaching, aggressive legislation. the process of the congress, what the public saw the last two years was a really up close look at the process of legislative
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sausage making. she will not be responsible for doing that anymore. people who are her best supporters, george miller of california, and they believe that now that she is no longer responsible for trying to do those things, trying to coax a deal between this bloc of moderates and this block of liberals, now that she does not have to do that she can focus more on sharply defining the democratic issue set. tavis: where democrats stand? nd?is this >> they think she is the right messenger for that job. others think she is the last person to deliver that message. tavis: i was not immediately aware of this, i was not aware of the ramifications and still win it -- and we get deeper into the night. then it occurred to me, that for
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all the push back on nancy pelosi for being too liberal, the democratic caucus is more liberal now than it was before election day because all those blue dogs got run out of town. in temrs of being re0- elected in my easier for nancy pelosi to win as minority leader that it was as speaker of the house, yesa? >> there are water mark was 258 seats, which they had about a year ago this week after winning a special election in new york. that is when they got the 258 seats. now they are down around 192, 193. to be minority leader, all you need to do is win 50% plus one. so 192 seats, you only need 97
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votes. there are 35-36 democrats from the state of california alone, and almost all of them are close to nancy pelosi supporters. any time she begins a race, she begins with about 30-35 votes in your home state back pocket. tavis: a couple of those people you mentioned in the california delegation happen to be african- american to. one of them is one critic is my congresswoman. i raise that that it happens that steny hoyer is a white man. jim clyburn is a black man. it happens that we have an african-american president. it happens there are 40 members of the congressional black caucus who may very well lined up behind jim clyburn in this fight for the number 2 slot. a very high ranking hispanic congressman king recently for jim clyburn. so you start to see -- to hear footsteps of a brown-black coalition that might be lining
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up behind jim clyburn. i only raise that because i am wondering how that might fracture or splintered the democratic party in the house, quite frankly, along racial lines. >> if this -- if hoyer-clyburn is a close race that goes to the election next week, it will make a lot of people uncomfortable. let's face it. barack obama is starting off his reelection campaign now. he needs to read-energize the african-american vote. all of those of first-time black voters from 2008. he needs to get that group of people back behind him 110%. he does not want to begin at by kicking the highest ranking black congressman ever out of leadership. that is just a recipe for disaster. and then, there is this other side of, they'd just lost all of these independent voters who
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broke away from democrats. they do not want to kick a guy out of leadership in steny hoyer who speaks to those voters better than anyone. there are some want to try to accommodate this in which one of the two of them accept the number 3 job and then they bombed everyone down the line. now, the bumping down the line would end up getting congressman baserra, she would then be the person kicked out on the musical chairs game, where there is one less seat. now you have the latino voting block which is really important. latinos saved harry reid. you cannot respond by taking the one latino and kicking him out. it is a game -- is more than a game. it is a dilemma that they are trying to figure out. if they bump baserra out of
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leadership, they may have to find a soft landing for him -- maybe give him a subcommittee, a ranking membership, give him some committee, high profile, something witthat will mollify that concern. tavis: it is amazing what happens when black and brown people after years after not having any start to demand some respect. all hell starts to break loose. let me ask you, it would appear that republicans to not have anywhere near, interestingly, the cantankerous politics being played on their leadership position as democrats do. fair statement? >> absolutely. it is amazing. this leadership team that republicans have have rarely had more personal palace
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intrigue as the debt -- and the democrats. as winners, you end up with so many more leadership seeks. and out of committee chairmanships to give away. -- so many more leadership seats. you can take this fight over this committee chairman sir up and tell this person, we will give you the number four position. they really cleared it up pretty well. there is one potential fight their for their number four leadership spot between an insider -- an insider, a very conservative insider and michelle bachmann who is a teas party favor. it could be interesting to see how much the tea party activists rallied behind michele bachmann. it is a little bit further down. tavis: it might seem like washington-beltway politics, but it really does matter because it
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has a lot to do with how president obama is going to get his year started with this new congress. how this leaderships' stuff works itself out. tonight, i thank paul caine from "the washington post". thanks for your time. up next, oscar nominated actress carey mulligan. stay with us. carey mulligan has quickly established herself as one of the bright young stars of for generation with roles in "pride and prejudice" and her oscar- nominated turn in "an education". in addition to her role in "wall street: money never sleeps", she stars in "never let me go". >> please, why do you do that thing over my shoulder? >> i'm allowed to touch tommy. >> it's the way you touch him. you know what i mean.
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it is copied from the television show. that behavior is not what people do in real life. if that is what you are thinking. >> it is no big deal. a lot of people do it. oh, kathy. so that is what this is about. [unintelligible] >> i never said that. tavis: it appears that you do not stop working. you have projects coming out back-to-back like this. >> i took your off after "wall street: money never sleeps". tavis: it just worked out this way. you and i were talking before about your beginning, which is interesting. i was reading more about your back story. that jullian fellowese, a wonderful writer, was at once the guy who told you, you do not
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want to do this acting thing, and then later, ended up being the guy that opened up the door to help you become a star that you are. tell me about how that happened? >> she was a good friend. i went to a boarding school. when he came to give a talk after she won the oscar for "gosford park." i met him afterwards. i said i wanted to be an actor. he told me to marry a lawyer or a banker. tavis: that sounds like discouragement to meet. [laughter] >> i was, like, 17. but he was the only actor i had ever met. when i left school and i have applied to drama school and had not got in. it was like university -- i applied to university and had not gotten in. i messed up my a-levels. i got slightly distracted. i wrote him and said, you are the only actor i have ever met, and i cannot get into drama school and i do not want to go
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to university. how do i get in? he set me up for dinner with other people who had written it similar letters. she introduced me to a casting director who knew that there were looking for young girls for "pride and prejudice". tavis: it is a remarkable story. i do not mean to cast aspersions on anybody in this town, but i do not know so many academy award winners to take students to dinner just because they wrote the letters that said they want to be in the business, and i have been rejected by the university. i did not get into drama school. can use sit in have dinner with me? was that divine intervention? >> i do not know. i was supposed to get two a's and i justthree b's, did not get in. if i had gotten the right grades, i would've gone to university and none of this would have happened. it was amazing. wife write tos
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me. tavis: why? how were you so certain at that age that this is exactly what he wanted to do? >> i do not know. there was nothing else. when i was five, i wanted to be a fireman. i lived in hotels growing up, so i wanted to be one of those law the pianist -- lobby pianists. i still think that's cool. we went to the international school at dusseldorf. my brother was in a huge production. i get into that. it was all over. tavis: i would not be doing my job if i did not ask what you grow up living in hotels. >> my dad was a hotel manager. tavis: you needed to explain that. i will let you do the honors. i was talking about 0-- this is one of those films that if you
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are not careful in how to explain it, you give away too much of it. i do not what the studio mad at me. i want you to explain to me the story line. >> "never let me go" is difficult to talk about. the book is written by kazuo ishiguro who wrote "remains of the day." she wanted to write a story about people have a limited life span. it is a group of friends interrupted other, and the circumstance where there realize that they have a limited life span and how they deal with that. tavis: these days, a project like this, what has attracted you to stuff? you said you did "wall street," did not work for year. how you go about picking stocks? >> i loved the book. i read the book when it came out. i always wanted to play kathy. it is characters. i am doing of film at the
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moment. that was a great script but it was mainly working with nicholas. i always thought he was so brilliant. the reason i did not work this year was mainly, there were brilliant things being written, but there was nothing that was significantly different from anything i had done before and i did not want to repeat myself. i was just waiting for something different. tavis: not long ago, morgan freeman and tim robbins, both in this chair for different projects. i love the film "the shawshank redemption" it, where morgan freeman is not just acting. he is near rating. you of the same experience. -- you are narrating. that experience is like what? >> it's the best, really, because my character narrates the book. we had a great script, but it was pared down. it was a difficult -- but alex garland who wrote the "the
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beach" adapted it. he knew kazuo ishiguro. he captured the but perfectly. when i am doing everything, every line and the script references something in the book. within that, there is a chapter devoted to that one scene. every time i needed an idea, or and needed a new thought, i could go back to the book. it was the best way to work. tavis: you and i were chatting key for we came on camera. i will not embarrass you. i was saying to you it that i walked on a lot today and as always i am giving a briefing about the day. and they tell me in this briefing, we have all of these gazinesows and ma want a clip of this conversation. we will not talk about anything salacious. it raised this issue of the fact
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that you, whether you plan this are not, you are the "it" girl. you are on the cover of every magazine. as a long way from somebody telling you, maybe this is not what you want to do. how you manage that on a daily basis? does that scare you at all? >> no. film was never the plan. i wanted to be a theater actress. i wanted to work in musical theater. i realize i was not good enough for singing or dancing. but theatre was the plan. when i ended up doing "the seagull," that was the best moment. that was the dream come true. that sort of stuff, it's like being in costume. i do not wear high heels cover. i am wearing high heels and out. tavis: they are really high.
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>> it is not really affect my life. i just wander around. i love my job and i am so lucky. i never imagined that i would get to work or do any of the things that i get to do. so tiny negatives. tavis: you do not feel pressure about all of this exposure and glam? >> no. it's like a side of the work. and all the magazines -- it is something you are proud of. tavis: you mentioned earlier that this was not part of the plan, that you thought he would be on the stage. what kinds of stuff on stage to do think it would be doing? shakespeare? >> i have never done shakespeare. i would love to. i did not go to drama school. in drama school, they will examine the tax. they all have five monologues that they know by heart.
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i have done check okov. tavis: chekov ain't bad. towards a draw more than anything. tavis: as you look back on it now, is there a blessing, something rewarding about the fact that it did have been right now and not the drama school route? obviously it worked out for you and you are ok with that. >> yeah. the fisrrst time i did apply, i felt that my voice was not strong enough until somebody came in and helped me with my voice -- the first time i didn't like. -- the first time i did a play. i did lots of supporting roles. and no one was looking at me for the first four or five years of my career. i could make mistakes and i could watch and i was lucky in
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that every test that i worked with was full of amazing, british actors, ian richardson, judi dench, i could be in the background and what a lot. -- and watch a lot. and then finally, i got slightly better jobs. tavis: slightly better. the new project is "never let me go" starring carey mulligan. that is our show for tonight. thanks for tuning in. until next time, keep the faith. >> this is not about the money. this is about you and me and we are not good anymore. >> we are good. come on. we are good. we're good. >> no. to make eachd
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other feel safe. what's the point? >> please don't. >> i can't. tavis: for more information on today's show, visit "tavis smiley" at pbs.org. tavis: join me next time for our conversation for a conversation with -- for a conversation with jeffrey wright out. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley with every
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question and every answer, we are proud to join the tavis to improve literacy and to remove obstacles to economic empowerment one obstacle at a time. >> and by contributions to a pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
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